Beth Falsone, Bloomfield, NY

"It takes a village" to respond to the impact of COVID-19

June 6, 2020 |

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37 years... That’s how deep my Bloomfield roots run. Both of my parents grew up in this quaint little town, as did their parents. Although my roots may be shallow in comparison to their’s, I have no doubt that this strong foundation will continue to grow.

It wasn’t always easy growing up in a town where everybody knows you. You’ve got eyes on you even when no one is looking. But even as a child, I knew that I wanted to raise my family here as well. Not only do I live in Bloomfield, I am also fortunate to teach fourth grade in the building that my grandfather helped construct.

At times we take for granted the intimacy of small-town living; complaining about the lack of opportunities and resources. But during this quarantine, I have never been more confident knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

2020 brought a great deal of anguish, fear and uncertainty but in light of all the ambivalence what came was nothing short of amazing.

On Friday, March 13th, intermediate teachers were busy handing out Chromebooks and giving a crash course in Google Classroom. Little did they know that the Bloomfield Central School district would close for the foreseeable future. Goodbyes were not spoken, hugs were not given and the reassurance that everything would be alright was left unsaid.

Without skipping a beat the school district partnered with town and village supervisors, the Rotary club, the Lions club, the Bloomfield faith community, the Methodist churches, and the Blessing Room. They could have worked independently of one another but together they demonstrated the truth in the saying, “it takes a village”.

I truly believe that the school district was able to keep the uneasiness to a minimum because all of the stakeholders came together as a family. Our cafeteria workers and transportation department continued to make sure that all students and families were fed. The teaching assistants called every school family to make sure their needs were met. Colleagues helped support other colleagues with technical support, mindfulness opportunities and other much needed professional development. Administration frequently checked in on the well being of the staff. But what sticks out most in my mind is the desire and drive to build and foster relationships during this unprecedented time. Through notes, cards, emails, remind messages, posters, Goguardian, Zoom calls, videos, etc., staff members exhausted every opportunity to let the students and parents know that they were supported. Staff showed flexibility, compassion and an overall calming presence. Our little town was able to forge ahead because there was a foundation built on trust and that comes from doing what’s best for the students; for the community.

What this rural community lacks in resources it makes up for with heart. I couldn’t be more proud of the Bloomfield Central School District. It’s a privilege to live here.


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